Catholic Bishop asks pastors to bless same-sex couples

same-sex couples

Blessings for same-sex couples and divorced and remarried couples in Germany’s Speyer diocese are now officially ‘allowed’.

In his letter to priests, deacons and lay pastoral workers last week, Bishop Karl-Heinz Wiesemann officially sanctioned the blessings.

The same-sex blessings the Speyer diocese gave in the Speyer churches could also be given to remarried couples, he wrote.

At the same time, the ceremony “must differ from a church wedding ceremony in terms of words and signs…”.

In addition, it “should explicitly reinforce the love, commitment and mutual responsibility in the couple’s relationship as an act of blessing” Weissmann wrote.

Wiesemann says he decide to write the letter after taking into account the German synodal way participants’ percent support for the blessings.

The participants endorsed a document calling for “blessing ceremonies for couples who love each other” he says.

The document asked for a “handout” about the blessings to be developed for German dioceses’ use.

It should cover “suggested forms for blessing celebrations for various couple situations (remarried couples, same-sex couples, couples after civil marriage).”

Pastoral response

It is “urgently time” for a different perspective “to find a pastoral attitude inspired by the Gospel”, Weisemann’s letter says.

Many pastors have been practising this “for some time”.

This is important, “especially against the background of a long history of deep hurt” he wrote.

“Many couples’ prayers for blessing reveal a deep longing to be able to live their lives together under the protection and guidance of God.

“…This is to be taken seriously and points to … God’s presence wherever there is goodness and love.

“Both with regard to believers whose marriages have broken down and who have remarried, and especially with regard to same-sex oriented people, it is urgently time …

“That’s why I campaigned for a reassessment of homosexuality in Church teaching in the synodal way and also voted for the possibility of blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples.”

He said he hoped the global synod “can also experience positive development.”

Wiesemann’s fervent hopes may yet be dashed however.

October’s synod on synodality’s first session wrap-up report did not mention same-sex blessings or even “LGBT”.

Vatican view

In 2021 the Holy See said the Church does not have the power to offer liturgical blessings for same-sex unions.

However, the Pope recently addressed the ‘same-sex blessings’ topic in response to several dubia cardinals posed ahead of the synod.

It is a matter of pastoral prudence to “properly discern whether there are forms of blessing, requested by one or more people, that do not convey a misconception of marriage” Pope Francis told the cardinals.

“Decisions … need not be transformed into a norm” he wrote.

His cautionary words may be too late.

Support for same-sex blessings is already established in Belgium.

A matter of choice

Wiesemann says pastors won’t be compelled to bless couples.

“… but my request also means that no one who carries out such blessings has to fear sanctions” he stresses.

Until the German bishops’ conference completes the handout, Weismann says pastors should refer to an AFK publication called “The celebration of blessings for couples”.


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News category: World.

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